It has been a year, lets gather thoughts

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My last post here was before taxes were due. I need to update this.

I did not fall off the wagon

First thing I want to get clarified, in case anyone worried. I have not fallen off the wagon by any means. Not even once. I still meet with Jake three times a week, and fill in other days with self-driven cardio. I still eat as well as I can every day, keep snacks limited, etc.

As we rolled into summer, I just never found myself having anything report-worthy here. My days were all routine and not much changing activity wise.

I did plateau for the summer

Even though I didn’t fall back into previous habits, I also didn’t continue to progress as much as I’d like. The proverbial gains had been slowing all summer.

August actually showed a regression as body fat percent crept up a little. My skeletal muscle mass also regressed and went down. Needless to say, I was not happy with that fact. While I am happy that I maintained where I was in July during my cruise vacation, August brought me back to Earth.

Jake and I began asking what changed that could be contributing. We believe an increase in carb totals and a decrease in protein totals contributed. Adding to that, I think my cardio lacked intensity levels that would provide results.

A year later

It is a year and a few days since I first joined Fitness 19 and started working with Jake each week. I have no qualms in saying it was perhaps the best decision I’ve made in recent memory.

I feel I am at the best physical condition I’ve ever been. This excludes early years back in gradeschool before I found candy. If looking at numeral weight only, the end of college would win, since I got right below 200lbs. I was not doing any weight training at that time though, which is why I feel present day Michael wins. The added muscle mass is offsetting what could be a weight.

Re-evaluated focuses

Reduced focus on weight as a number

When I was first starting out, throughout winter and the start of spring, I put a lot of focus on the topic of weight. I’d check it on a weekly schedule and update all my fitness website stats. This was understandable. I had a lot to lose at the time, and did. As time went on though, and as part of the plateauing, it started remaining consistent. I have been bouncing around the 210-220 range for much of the summer, and I’m fine with that. If it happens to go up a bit, that is ok, as long as it is from increased muscle. If it’s from other things, then I will put renewed focus on it to remove bad influence.

Focus on body fat percentage

At the end of October 2015, we did my first InBody test, and my body fat percentage clocked in at 35.3%. At my lowest thus far, I was at 22.7% in August. On September 1st 2016, I clocked in at 23.4%. In 11 months, I was able to drop around 12%. That’s pretty impressive if you ask me. For this year, I want to make sure that value continues to drop. By the time I’m writing a year two post, I want to be at max, around 16%. If I can reduce it even further, awesome.

Focus on no “beer belly”

This will likely come as a result of BFP focus, but I want to remove as much of my lingering bulging belly as I can. I am not expecting to have a well defined 6 pack grid showing through, but I want to be as close to one as manageable.

Focus on increased variety in meals

I feel that I have maintained a pretty good eating habit. I rarely consume fast food these days. Closest I tend to get to are Jimmy Johns, Pizza Rev and Qdoba. I feel Jimmy Johns provides a pretty full belly at a low enough cost in nutritional totals. I appreciate that fact. I would agree with anyone who says Qdoba likely isn’t the absolute best for you. A guy needs his occasional tacos though, and Qdoba is able to come through with that. Pizza Rev manages to take care of my pizza cravings at a decent enough low cost as well. All three try to remain reserved as treats, and should not be regular.

When it comes to home cooking, I do pretty well. At the same time though, it is always a lot of the same thing every week. Plenty of boneless pork chops or country style pork ribs, with red meat steaks slipped in from time to time. When not having various meats, I have done a lot of caesar salads that Hyvee sells. Added to that is various fruits or vegetables, as well as light yogurts for snacks. This is all fine and good, but pretty repetitive. It would be easy to get tired of it in the long run. I would like to try and vary the meals while still remaining within nutrition limits. We will see how this one goes.

One spot that should get reigned in is coffee shop snacking. I frequent a nice handful of local coffee places and often spend an hour or two working from them. I am even writing this post from one. The coffee itself is never a huge deal, since I often stick with drip coffee and creamer. I do have the occasional mocha. It’s the other treats that I should keep an eye on, even if I strive for healthiest options I can find. In cases where the shop offers meal-like options, if I order one, it should get treated as such. I should not be ordering a bowl of soup, just to return home later and prepare more food. Drip coffee though is free reign still. That offers at least temporary satiation to get me by for a while longer.

A year from now

If I can stay on course and achieve the goals above, I have confidence that I can be at an even better “best shape of my life.” It’s definitely going to be hard work to get there. It may even be the harder part of the journey, which may sound odd to some. Breaking bad habits is always a difficult thing to do, but making sure you do not regress back can be just as hard.

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It’s Michael!

Photo of Michael, with his head tilted to the side.


Weight: 241lbs

Last updated: 2023-12-23


General Information

Gym enrollment date: 2015-09-21

First trainer session: 2015-09-23

Current routine

Small group class: HIIT. Personal training: strength and bodybuilding, 4 times/week

Personal Records

List of personal gym records